Keiland Construction was founded 2007 by Keith DuRousseau. Based out of Lake Charles, and expanding across Louisiana, Keiland Construction built upon small commercial projects to slowly create a name for itself in the competitive building industry.
Keiland Construction started as a real estate development business, but DuRousseau quickly realized he needed to make a change. “The economic downturn inspired us to look for new avenues to sustain our business.” He looked into federal government contracting and realized that it was the perfect route, but it wasn’t going to be an easy one.
“Bidding on competitive commercial projects is hard without past performance,” DuRousseau admits. To make Keiland Construction a competitor, he had to have a portfolio of work to legitimize the firm with customers, as well as financers.
DuRousseau sold his house and put all of his personal equity into Keiland Construction to gain confidence with banks. He and his wife rented a room, and worked from there. “The dedication was there,” he chuckles, “but it took a lot of patience.”
“Whenever you exit one industry to enter another, you’re practically starting over,” DuRousseau explains, “You have larger firms with proven past performance, proven financial capabilities, proven staff, that we’re now competing against. We had to bring something to the table that was attractive enough for a federal entity to consider us.”
Keiland Construction started by focusing on a micro-scale, designing its own small commercial building spaces and bidding on entry-level projects. “We let our work speak for itself, and our attitudes and ability to perform and to harmonize with a client lead the way,” he details.
Good wasn’t good enough; the work had to be stellar. Keiland Construction took on more small projects and slowly began setting its sights from municipal to statewide. Just like that, business took off.
Finding a focus
Keiland Construction’s first federal project came with the Bayou National Wildlife Reserve in Monroe, Louisiana. A $150,000 project, Keiland Construction quickly built a reputation as a self-performing construction company that didn’t flinch when struck with a difficult challenge.
“The first key factor in growth is diversity,” DuRousseau explains. Although vertical construction was Keiland Construction’s primary focus, its reach was expanded to include turf establishment, a valuable skill in the Louisiana area.
In 2010, DuRousseau began working with Louisiana University to address trouble areas in the New Orleans levee system. “Turf is the first line of defense in levees,” he says. Though it was a daunting project, Keiland Construction charged in and never turned back. Now, the company maintains and establishes turf for the entire New Orleans district.
This is no small task, as Hurricane Katrina has made the New Orleans levees a household topic. “The bottom line is, we’re determined to establish turf in these areas, and we won’t stop researching or applying until it happens,” states DeRousseau, “A lot of contractors, when facing the adversity, give up or bow out. We elected to see it through. That gained us a lot of respect and opportunities to be an intricate part of the levee team in New Orleans.”
Making the right choices
In a very short period of time, Keiland Construction rose quickly to become a top competitor in the state. DuRousseau attributes this success to their performance-based attitude and principles. “We have a reputation of getting a project done at all costs, whatever it takes,” he explains.
By learning from their mistakes, Keiland Construction was able to identify problems early on. “That is a principle of attitude that the entire company was built upon,” DuRousseau continues, “When we’re quoting a project, we want to understand the objectives, not only draw the specifications. We will bring to light what has possibly been omitted and excluded, to make sure everyone understands all the key parts.”
DuRousseau points to his employees as the reason Keiland Construction has succeeded in the past seven years. With low turnover, he sees hiring qualified people as key. “We’re not in it for one project, we’re a career-based firm,” he says proudly. “We hire talent.”
Just like he considers the right worker vital to his company’s success, DuRousseau also says it has much to do with Keiland Construction’s overall attitude. “We won’t take on a project unless we have the available resources for it,” he continues. “We’ll turn down projects if we do not have the available resources. Customers respect that.”
Keiland Construction’s customer-based attitude has factored significantly in its rise to success. DuRousseau considers every project a partnership. “We deliver a superior product and a superior relationship,” he notes. “Every client we’ve worked for since we’ve opened, we still work for today.”
Building strong client relationships goes a long way for a construction company like Keiland Construction. “We look at our clients like we look at our employees: we’re not just here for one project, we’re here for a lifetime,” DeRousseau says proudly. “Engraining that message into the fibers of our company, that has been my mission.”
Keiland Construction is still growing. DeRousseau considers the primary focus of its early years was to create diversity in their projects and build up surety to sustain larger-scale work. “We needed to create a sustainable business model for future,” he explains, “but the second phase is to take advantage of what we created.”
There’s no question to anyone watching Keiland Construction’s rise to success has certainly arrived.
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